Five tales of terror in the tradition of the “Creepshow” anthologies, this installment features a remote control that controls more than you’d expect, a haunted radio, a murderous call girl who crosses paths with more than she bargained for, an eccentric professor and a heartless doctor who is haunted by the ghost of a homeless man.
The third installment in the “Creepshow” franchise, this one takes a different approach than its predecessors in that there is no wraparound story behind these tales. Instead, they take the “Pulp Fiction” approach of having characters from these five stories cross paths with each other to tie them all together. It doesn’t work. In fact, it does the opposite of working – the “Creepshow” element is gone and these tales are no longer ripped from the pages of a horror magazine and are instead cobbled together short stories.
That’s not nearly as big an issue as the stories themselves, none of which work.
“Alice” is a snobby teenager who comes home to find dad fiddling with a remote control that is changes the entire world around her. She eventually is confronted with her “true form” before the crazy professor down the street transforms her again with his own remote control. If that made no sense to you, don’t blame it on the recap – the story made no sense as it played out for 20 minutes or so.
“The Radio” actually had the potential to be creepy as a run-of-the-mill security guard buys a radio that starts talking to him. Eventually, he turns to robbery and murder as the radio guides him toward a better life. What could have ben a great tale of madness or even a cool “strange tale” about a possessed radio is ruined with a clumsy ending, though.
“Call Girl” had similar potential as a serial killer call girl crosses paths with the wrong client. It was all so obvious, though, that you’re ultimately left underwhelmed. This is the best story by default, as one or two grim moments of foreshadowing make it the least clumsily executed.
“The Professor’s Wife” is at best a serviceable dark comedy. Two former students reunite with their old professor and his fiance who they determine must be a robot. Their course of action at that point is rivaled in stupidity only in their clueless carrying out of their plan to ridiculous extremes. If this was actually intended to be horror, it was clearly devised by someone who doesn’t understand the genre.
“Haunted Dog” is pretty much a rip-off of the “Creepshow 2” tale, “The Hitchhiker”. A heartless doctor gives a homeless man a hot dog that he dropped on the ground. When the homeless man dies, his ghost haunts the doctor. Setting aside the fact that the sidewalks in this town are apparently hideously virulent, the story itself is dumb and copies arguably the weakest story that the “Creepshow” franchise had offered up before. It sets its sights low and still comes up short, as we at least sort of cared what happened in “The Hitchhiker”. Here, we don’t.
Five bad stories, executed poorly, without the heart or feel of the previous two films, this movie fails on basically every level. As if acknowledging that it was a bad approach, each story ends with a strange fade out that seems to want to call to mind the comic feel that the other two films had, while still insisting on not embracing what made those movies “Creepshow”. Plenty of people didn’t like the second installment, but they clearly never saw this one – because “Creepshow 2” is high art in comparison. Watching the first one and calling it a day is the best approach – but avoid this one at all costs.